Beit Ommar Youth Killed by Israeli Settlers
Update: Late Friday night, Yousef Ikhlayl succumbed to his injuries. His funeral is being held in Beit Ommar Saturday, January 29, 2011.
For Immediate Release:
Friday, January 28th 2011, 9am: Around 100 settlers from Bat Ayn settlement descended upon the Palestinian villages of Saffa and nearby Beit Ommar in the southern West Bank, shooting 17-year-old Yousef Fakhri Ikhlayl in his head, leaving him critically injured. Doctors have announced that Yousef is currently brain-dead in a Hebron hospital.
Settlers also shot 16-year-old Bilal Mohammad Abed Al-Qador with live ammunition in his arm.
The large group of armed settlers began shooting towards Palestinian homes in Saffa at around 9am, leaving Bilal injured. At the same time, a second group of settlers attacked an area of Beit Ommar called Jodor. Yousef was shot in the head in this area while he was standing in grapes vines he had planted on his family’s land.
Dozens of Palestinians from Beit Ommar and the nearby village of Surif began coming to the area to defend their communities. Seven jeeps of Israeli Forces also arrived in the area and escorted the settlers back to Bat Ayn.
This is the second settler attack with live ammunition on Palestinians in as many days. On January 27th, Uday Maher Qadous was shot and killed in Iraq Burin, in the Nablus district, by armed settlers as he was working his land.
Yousef Fahkri Ikhlayl is from the village of Beit Ommar and has worked on initiatives with the Palestine Solidarity Project, an ant-occupation organization in Beit Ommar. In the summer of 2010, Yousef attended the Center for Freedom and Justice’s Freedom Flotilla Summer Camp where he engaged in educational projects, community service, and unarmed demonstrations against the Israeli occupation. In the fall of 2010 Yousef was a participant in a youth photography class also sponsored by the center.
“Yousef was a kid who hoped for a better future for Palestine. His life was ended prematurely by right-wing extremists. People around the world should be outraged by his shooting, and should work to bring his attackers to justice. “
-Bekah Wolf, American citizen who worked with Yousef in the Center for Freedom and Justice
Settlers from Bat Ayn routinely attack and harass Palestinians in the Beit Ommar area. In January 27th, 2011 settlers in the area destroyed several hundred olive trees belonging to Palestinian farmers.